By Tadious Manyepo
Wellington Mpandare, the ZIFA general manager for all national teams, says they have been working on a housing deal for Warriors players with the late legendary footballer and coach, David “Yogi” Mandigora.
The former Warriors and Dynamos star, who also distinguished himself as a brilliant coach, in which he guided the Glamour Boys to the semi-finals of the 2008 CAF Champions League, died in Harare on Saturday morning.
He was laid to rest at Glen Forest Memorial Park in Harare yesterday.
Mandigora was a real estate guru and Mpandare revealed yesterday they have been working on various projects, including some properties, which would have benefitted the Warriors’ players.
“I was working with Yogi on projects where he was selling property and we were actually engaging some Warriors players that we wanted to invest in those houses,’’ Mpandare told The Herald.
“Unfortunately, he passed on before we could conclude any of the deals.
“He was in that industry for a very long time and we were working together, as we wanted to see players also benefiting, from the project.
“Obviously, in football, he did all as a player, and a coach. I used to call him Yoghurt because he also liked yoghurt so much.
“I am out of words but wherever he has gone I am sure he will have a peaceful life. It is a sad chapter in Zimbabwean football.’’
Harare City coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, said Mandigora played a huge part in influencing him to becoming a professional footballer.
“Indeed, it is a very big loss to the nation,” said Chitembwe.
“I think, for me, Yogi was one of those very few people who believed in my talent.
“It wasn’t by coincidence that, during the early days of my career he, together with Wieslaw Grabowski and Armando Ferreira, called me to train with Darryn T and, from then on, I discovered myself as a football player.
“So obviously, Mandigora remains a big part of my rise in football and there was one time that we worked together, when I was playing for the national team, and he was one of the assistant coaches to Charles Mhlauri.
“I also happened to work with him, when we went to Egypt (for the 2006 AFCON finals). Apart from football, we also shared a lot with Mandigora.
“He is one man who was full of humility and it is, indeed, a very sad loss to the football fraternity.”
Clayton Munemo, one of the stars who emerged on the scene at Dynamos just as Mandigora and his generation were getting to the twilight phase of their careers, described him as a rare breed, both as a footballer, and a person.
“One thing that I remember most about Mandigora was his versatility as a player. He could play as a winger and a defender as well,” said Munemo.
“We have lost a gentleman. I remember in 1983, when I was promoted into the senior Dynamos team, Mandigora would always come to me and say keep on pushing, you have what it takes.
“He was so passionate about the game.’’
For Nyika Chifamba, who was the Dynamos manager during Mandigora’s time as the coach between 2007 and 2009, the fallen legend was an oasis of humility.
“We worked together with Mandigora, from 2006 to 2008, we won the league in 2007 and also reached the semi-final of the CAF Champions League, with me as the manager, while he was the head coach,” said Chifamba.
“The way he motivated the boys was out of this world.
“I still remember when we went to Tunisia, to play Etoile du Sahel in 2008, we arrived there in the morning for a match which was on that afternoon.
“We didn’t have any time to train on the pitch but we could only stretch while Mandigora lectured the boys.
“We won that match and that was how good a tactician Mandigora was. He will be missed.”
Former Dynamos captain, Justice Majabvi, said Mandigora changed his life.
“I was at CAPS United in 2006 but I couldn’t play and I was frustrated,” said Majabvi.
“Then Mandigora approached me and promised to give me the armband. He did just that and he is one man I will never forget in my life. May his soul rest in peace.”
Mandigora, who was 64 when he died, is one of the legends of domestic football.
He is just one of two coaches to guide a local team as far as the semi-finals of the Champions League with his former teammate, and close friend, Sunday Chidzambwa, having blazed the trail, during the 1998 edition of the tournament.
While Chidzambwa took his men all the way to the final, where they lost to Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas, Mandigora and his troops fell at the semi-final hurdle.
However, considering the challenges, which those Glamour Boys faced, and conquered, including playing for a club which didn’t have the financial resources to bankroll such an expensive adventure, on the continent, the Class of 2008 have continued to receive glowing tribute.
They eliminated the defending champions, Etoile du Sahel, including inflicting a first home defeat for the Tunisians, in their backyard, in the tournament.
They then beat five-time champions, Zamalek, of Egypt and ASEC Mimosas, the very team which had defeated them, in controversial circumstances, in the ’98 Champions League final. The Herald